Web.com Tour to start 2017 season in Bahamas

The Web.com Tour will get an early – and unconventional – start to the 2017 season by heading to the Bahamas for the first time.

The Tour announced Wednesday that the new schedule will begin with a pair of events on the island nation: the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, held Jan. 8-11, and the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, held Jan. 22-25. This past year, the Web.com Tour season did not begin until the final week of January in Panama.

Both tournaments will also feature unique scheduling, with first-round competition on Sunday and the final round played on Wednesday.

“We are excited to announce these two season-opening events in the Bahamas,” said Tour president Bill Calfee. “I’m confident that the groundbreaking nature of the tournament structure, coupled with the scenic beauty of The Out Islands, will make for a fantastic television product for our fans.”

This will mark the Web.com Tour’s first foray into the Bahamas, which already hosts an LPGA event as well as the unofficial Hero World Challenge that is sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

The season opener will be played on the Greg Norman signature course at Sandals Emerald Bay, while the second event will be played at the Abaco Club, a course that claims Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke among its notable residents. Both tournaments will feature 132-player fields and a $600,000 purse, with $108,000 going to the winner.